Thursday, December 1, 2016


Factory Shenanigans & Our Attempts

We are, unfortunately, still waiting on the factory to send correct 'Master samples.'  Aptus said months ago that we should be in production by now, but that clearly has not happened. 

We want to assure everyone that we haven't been resting on our proverbial laurels, though.  We have continued to personally reach out to other factories.  One factory in particular has been quite promising.  They specialize in plastics: they went from having a 3D image of a token (one of our future projects) to handing us a production-level sample within 3 weeks. 

During the time we've been waiting on the current factory to produce the Master samples, this other factory (we'll call them the "hopeful factory") has been able to make a materially similar product to the samples we originally gave them.  This is great news.  (We have yet to do the print samples, though, in case we need to explain this later. The materials & feel of the boards, however, is correct.)

So if the current factory doesn't deliver the long-awaited Master samples in the *very* near future, we have what looks like a promising fallback already set up. 

Everyone here at GameNightLife can certainly identify, personally, with the frustration of these delays.  Hopefully, there won't be more.

We hope that everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday, and we hope to bring to you good news of production soon.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for backing us!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Update: 11/2/16

Preventing a Switcheroo

Since we (GNL) were told by the factory & Aptus to expect to move to production in two weeks, we've still been working on getting those final master samples.  The master samples, of course, are needed in order to establish a contract.  A spec sheet will do for most of the components, but showing an acceptable range of real products is what is required for a good contract that involves a printed product.  

In the time since the 9/1/16 update, we have had three more rounds of samples, but none of them were even close to correct. They were a significant step backwards, actually.  The factory decided to glue a layer of card stock (thick paper) in between the backing layers, to help make cutting the backing easier.  This is in exactly none of our communication with anyone.  It makes the boards not spring back into shape when bent (they stay bent, like card stock would), and we have no plans to allow for something that can absorb water to be a part of this board. 

If your reaction is, "Well tell them to stop doing that," we have.

Repeatedly. and emphatically. 

It really seems a habit of material suppliers to try to swap out for inferior (or simply different) materials at the end.  And that is precisely what we are experiencing.  And precisely what we aren't going to allow.

You Will Get What You Paid For!

As a reminder of our commitment to this project: Jerry literally sold his house to ensure that there is money to move forward, despite the shenanigans of the prior factory.  

We have no intention of providing inferior quality stuff. The bait-and-switch nonsense we are experiencing now is precisely what we do not want to do to anyone else, and we refuse to do it.

Now What?

The factory reads these updates as well.  They know the history of the project, and how long people have had to wait.  And not unlike the previous factory, they seem to think that we might just be desperate to move forward with something different from what we originally discussed.

We're not.

We (GNL) will continue to insist to the factory that we want the final product to match the construction of the samples we initially showed you guys in our videos.  (Not the color, don't worry!)

So we are still waiting for the factory to produce the correct master samples, and to make it match what we agreed upon earlier.

This is certainly not where we were told we would be two months ago, either.  But we're not daunted; we're going to make the boards.  It's just a matter of time.  And we have no intention of being swayed by 'hardball' negotiation tactics. 

Thanks for reading, and thanks for backing us.  We really do appreciate all your support!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Update 9/1/16 (Good news!)

The short version: Barring any disasters, we are a week or two from starting production!

The Print Samples were Good!

We've been taking pains to make sure that everything is as high quality as possible. This includes what went wrong last time: the printing.  We managed to find people who had worked for this manufacturer before to help us make sure that whatever we printed, it was as consistent as it was humanly possible to print.
This manufacturer makes stuff for big-name board game companies (like Mattel), and their standards were already quite high.  We worked with them to figure out how to get the most consistent print possible, and we were all pleased with the results.
Looks pretty consistent to us!
Looks pretty consistent to us!
The closer to natural light you are, the better it looks.  This was taken in an overcast day, and these particular mats are bent (especially at the bottom of the photo).  Which brings us to our next point:

What's Next?

The factory is making what are called "Master Samples." These are the standard by which the final delivery is judged, in the event of a dispute.  We don't expect there to be any disputes, of course, but these are the sorts of hoops we jump through to work with the best printers we can. 
That should only take another week or two.  Once that is finished, we sign contracts, and they begin production that day.  Exciting times!
The time of production itself should take a couple of weeks, and then there's shipping to us, followed by us shipping to you.  We plan to have some pictures and videos during production.
We'll give definite dates as we have them, but that's the approximate schedule as we know it, ourselves.  You now know what we do about the schedule!

Updating your Address

Don't forget that you can always update your address at   If you can't change it on your order (and some people have that weird bug!), then you can change it on your account itself, and we will notice.

At long last, we are about to have our wonderful beginning.  Thanks for sticking with us through the ups and downs; we intend to make the wait worth it, especially with all the stuff we will be bringing you guys in the future!
So, as always, thanks for reading, and thanks for backing us!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stencils & more!

We have been working hard with getting everything to folks like we promised.

Here's a little bit about the stencils!

The Design

The idea we had was to try to put as many useful map-related things in one spot as we could.

This meant three things:
  1. Symbols often used on a map, but that were hard to draw.
  2. Blast / cone templates for area effect stuff (like fireballs and rocket launchers).
  3. A functional ruler.
On top of that, we wanted something supremely durable. Something that wouldn't shatter like one of those protractors you used in middle school.

And so, this was what we came up with:

You can see how this works:
1. The symbols all over typically are hard to draw; the lines being accurate divisions for angles.
2. The basic shape of the whole stencil, including the large spaces, allows for the most common sizes of cones and blasts.  (The arcs are divided at 1" intervals.)
3. The bottom edge of the stencil is designed to be a ruler (although this silhouette doesn't show that).

A Slight Correction

So, ever so long ago, we were a little surprised to find that the material that one of our original suppliers used had shrunk slightly.  This meant that the ruler, and the basic shapes for the blast radii and cones, was off by a little bit. (The 8" ruler was only about 7.35")

The supplier we are working with right now for the stickers (an update for those should be very soon!) also now be making these stencils. And they are actually located close to where Jerry lives, so that makes checking in very easy and frequent.

A Tiny Video

Just a quick visual of them!

Upcoming News

We want to put updates out more frequently, but the samples have been a bit slow to come lately. Part of the challenge involved with that is that we can't just get a production-quality sample, we have to have an actual production run.  This makes confirmation about what we're going to get a big, big step.  Having experienced problems with that in the past, we're preferring to take our time. However, this is a factory renown for actually getting it right on the first try, so we're just following their processes to make sure it happens that way.  Unfortunately, this means less-than-interesting updates.

For now, everything still seems to be on track!  Aptus assures us that this is the case, and that we are still moving along at a slightly-faster-than-average pace for a new product.

This week we should also have a look at the corrected stickers!

So, if you have any questions, feel free to email us any time!  Sometimes we get backed up and it takes us a little time, but we always get around to responding to everyone.

And as always, thanks for supporting us!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Good news!

Hello, supporters of various kinds!

Things have been moving along quite well here. The part that everyone is most interested in, of course, is how the production of mats has been going.

We got the latest round of samples rather late (FedEx had a mixup somewhere along the way).

We finally got to start testing the latest round of samples. And the results could hardly be better.
The erasing surface seems to be spot on. It handles all kind of markers --wet erase, dry erase, and permanent marker. Ink doesn't just come off cleanly after an hour or two. It comes off cleanly (in one swipe for the dry erase) after being left in a car for days in the hot June sun. But it still seems to hold the ink the way it should when in the "closed" position (when you have to move the mats). We'll put up some videos of that soon!

The bottom layers are also just right. It grips the surface of tables extremely well when there's pressure on it (no slipping!), but still "floats" perfectly when you want to move a row of tiles.

The magnets were exactly correct, too! The holding strength was just what it should be---easy enough to pull them apart when you want, but strong enough to hold the tiles together in a sheet.

We are rather excited. The new factories are living up to their reputations so far, and we feel confident that we are moving in the right direction.  The next steps are making sure that the print quality is correct.  That's what the next round of samples will try to show.

After that, we will make sure the cuts are precise.

We have a lot we expect to share in coming weeks, but we thought we'd share this really soon, instead of having a lot of videos at the ready.

Again, thank you all for your patience.  It appears that it will shortly be paying off!

And thanks for backing us!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 4th Update: Suppliers and Timetables

Good news, everyone!  We have made a lot of progress toward getting these mats to you.

The Supplier Situation

We have narrowed the field from literally hundreds of suppliers to down to three.  These few suppliers are letting us review samples right now.  Since they are both competing against each other, you can see how we might not want to show any pictures until we pick the one definite supplier we want.  It won't be long until we do pick, though. (Likely in the next two weeks.) Then we should be able to show samples and give more details.
We have also decided to work with domestic companies. That is, American companies. All our earlier delays were due to us personally trying to work with people overseas, and I think everyone can agree that those delays were not okay. 
These companies are sourcing a lot of their materials from overseas, though, and so we have a bit of a delay in getting our samples. For instance, the reason this update was delayed from being made on the 1st was because one of the samples arrived yesterday (the 3rd). 
Which brings us to the issue most people care about the most, the projected timetable!

The Projected Timetable

Please keep in mind that right now these are estimates, but they are realistic estimates.
Right now we are getting the samples perfected from each supplier.  Each round of samples takes about 2 weeks. As we narrow the field to one candidate, that number can get a bit more accurate, but right now, that's about the case. We anticipate going through two more rounds of samples before they get it just right. But we do anticipate getting it done just right, which is very exciting! 
Then, it would be about 30 days for an initial production run. This seems like the fastest road to getting everyone's orders fulfilled.  
After production, shipping from the factory to us (GameNightLife) would take about 30 days. 
Based on all that, it is possible that we could start shipping out by the end of August.  
This is pretty great for time, considering that we were just introduced to these suppliers less than a month ago. They see the potential for this product, and the other items we plan on making, so they are eager to form a good relationship right from the start.

Quality Check

Someone asked about what quality control steps we would be taking this time. 
First off, we are only working with American companies. That helps quite a bit. That means a more clear and enforceable contract, faster communication, and easier resolution of any problems. They see the potential for this product (and the others we have talked about), and so they are interested in making sure it is done correctly for a long-term relationship. Also, they have a lot more resources in place to take care of the problems that arise in their factories. 
For instance, they routinely train the people working on their assembly lines to be able to spot errors in products that are being made, and have comparisons on the spot to check every piece. 
Also, there will be frequent audits by a 3rd party inspection company during production, and a big inspection just before shipping. This inspection company is known for being rigidly difficult to please, and the factories know it.  This means that what we get will adhere to the specs we give. (We do plan on having video of that when we are in production, by the way!)
Furthermore, the factories we're going to be dealing with do stuff for much larger companies than ours (like Mattel). Those companies have such ridiculously tight parameters on their products that these factories are able to do extreme precision with their printing and engineering. (So, correct color and cuts won't be an issue for these factories!) 

Marker Erasing

Lastly, someone asked about the way erasing worked after not just days or weeks, but after *months* of being left on. Our original samples, that you saw in the Kickstarter videos, do manage to wipe off cleanly after months of being left on.  (For whatever reason, the color purple needed a little water to come off all the way, but it still erased cleanly.) The longest one we had was 6 months, and it wiped off cleanly.
That is amazing to us.
We're working to make sure that the same materials get used in these mats. (We don't just want to sell them, we want to use them, too!)

What is Next?

As always, progress will be tracked here on the blog.
We will put out official Kickstarter updates for major news, which hopefully will be coming much faster now that we are at this point in our relationship with the suppliers.
Because many people have asked, we figure it bears repeating here: If you want to change your address, or update what tiles you picked, just do it at the website where you took the replacement survey:  If you have any trouble, just ask; we will help. But it should be pretty automatic.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop us a line!  We will get back to you as soon as we are able.  
We'll try to answer any questions about this update in the comments.
We are finally getting there! We can't thank you enough, but we can certainly say it often, because we mean it: Thanks for backing us!

Friday, April 1, 2016

More good news!

Here's the video for those who hate text:

Here's the text for those who hate video:

So, with the assistance of Aptus, we have engaged with literally hundreds of factories.  After lots of vetting and help from Aptus, we have narrowed it down to five factories that we are confident that could pull it off---it's now a matter of who could pull it off the *best*.

So this month, Jerry will be visiting facilities in person. At the end of that, and we should be able to pick a factory, and get started with production ASAP.  This means an estimated shipping date will be coming fairly soon!

As soon as we have the estimated shipping date, we will put out a Kickstarter update, to let everyone know where we stand. (And we should be able to show some production-level samples then, too.)

So, thanks for your patience, and thanks for backing us. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Good news!

We're now working with Aptus to investigate hundreds of factories.

This means we will spend less time looking for a factory, and more time working with a factory.  Which means that we will deliver all the sooner!

We will, of course, let everyone know via Kickstarter update (and on here) the moment we have made a selection on which factory.  And we still intend to show production with lots of video updates as we move forward.

But right now, we are glad to be working with engineers who have connections of this caliber, and we are excited about how quickly things should be moving in the near future.

Stay tuned; we will give regular updates!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Update: Everything is going about as well as can be expected!

For the interested, here's the video:

For those who just want the quickest summary possible:

1. Jerry is doing fine even after selling his house. He's not going to starve; don't worry about him.
2. We are searching for a new manufacturer. That takes time, but we are confident that one of the people we've been talking to can pull this off.
3. We are still waiting for the escrow company and the third party inspection folks. That takes time too, but it seems to be progressing.
4. We are now protected in over 100 countries! That's pretty cool. This helps protect you guys against lousy knock-offs that are cheaply made, too, incidentally.

And that's it for now!  Remember to email us if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks for supporting us!